Despite the newness of the year, I’ve been feeling blah over the last week or so. I’m not sure why. Nor can I seem to pinpoint just when I started feeling blah. One thing is certain – I don’t like the feeling. I don’t like the lack of motivation. I don’t like the bitter way I look at things when I’m feeling like this. I don’t like that it makes me want to avoid being around other people – at least until I’m feeling more like myself.

The thing is that right now because I do have a number of different things that I’m juggling, avoiding other people isn’t a viable option. So I find myself having to try and not let my feelings of blah affect my interactions with others. But, I’m not really doing that great of a job at it right now.  

Most of the people that I’m dealing with right now know that I’m one of countless Americans who have experienced homelessness. They know that I write this blog. They also know that I’m transitionally homeless and are curious enough to ask if I have any idea when I’ll finally have a place to call home. I give a non-committal shrug my shoulders and say that I hope it’s soon (which I hope it will be).

Having felt the bite of discrimination for being homeless, it seems a bit peculiar to be doing business with people who know I’m transitionally homeless. They seem to accept my "residentially challenged" without so much as a blink of an eye. With the first few projects I had managed to get 6 or 7 months ago, while I didn’t actually go overboard to avoid mentioning that I was homeless, I certainly didn’t go out of my way to volunteer the information either.

When I first became homeless I went to great pains to avoid having anyone know that I was homeless. Even when it was absolutely unavoidable that someone would find out or recognize that I was homeless, I would try and minimize my homelessness. I didn’t want to have the "label" put on me. Is it any wonder that it seems quite strange for me to be engaged in a conversation with any one of my recent "business contacts" on a professional level, have the conversation switch over to homelessness in the nation and then back to the project that I’ve been hired for – and all as if it we were discussing the weather.

Over the last 2 or 3 months, the same thing has been happening with many of the people I’ve been meeting. We meet. We talk. This blog comes up. Either they already know about it, or I end up mentioning it. They know intellectually that I’m homeless, but are emotionally unable to accept my homelessness.

There is one gentleman, that I met about 3 months ago, who I sit down and talk with on a semi-regular basis. Although we do talk about quite a number of different things, he listens diligently when I share statistics about homelessness. He even asks me questions about homelessness. But if it comes up that I’m still "technically" homeless, he winches. I’m not sure why.

There is the part of him that knows what I’ve been through. He knows what I’m trying to achieve. He even gives me quite a bit of encouragement during those time when I emotionally begin to feel as though I’m never going to get out of homelessness. Yet, there is a part of him that seemingly wants to avoid conscious admission that his new friend is a person who is homeless – even if transitionally homeless.

What I learned was that he had quite a different view of what types of people were homeless. He had always thought of homeless people as being lazy, drunks, drug addicts and just derelicts in general. Yet, when we were introduced he wasn’t aware that I was a person who was homeless.

To make the story short, when he finally was told that I was homeless, he didn’t have a hard time accepting me – he had a hard time accepting my homelessness. When he had been told that I was homeless, he looked that person in the eye and just about accused that person of lying. And, even when I confirmed that I was indeed homeless, he almost disbelieved that.

Perhaps one of the most touching moments that I’ve experienced recently was one day when he and I had been having coffee. When we walked back to his vehicle, he noticed a gentleman who was homeless. He paused for a few seconds as he fished in his pocket and came out with a few dollars. Walking back to the homeless gentleman he handed the money to the homeless gentleman and said: "Good Luck, Buddy."

After we had driven for few blocks, he said to me: "You didn’t see that."

I replied: "See what?"

I’m not sure, but I’m almost certain that it was the first time he had ever done something like that. My presence must have made the experience awkward for him, but at the same time I could see that it made him feel genuinely good about himself. He had something for someone else without the expectation of the "pat on the back."

I felt good that this new friend of mine had had the joy of exploring his own humanity.

I wish that everyone could have that same experience of exploration.

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